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The Apple Airport Express has changed the way I listen to music at home.  Everything is so easy now with just a few of these little gadgets.  They not only integrate with iTunes, but also with Pandora, Youtube and other apps that I’ve found like local radio station apps.  NPR even works!

Parts list:

 

[1] Harman/Kardon HK3390 Stereo Receiver
[4 pr.] InwallTech HD650.2W
[1] InwallTech SS4R Speaker Selector
[1] Apple Airport Express
[1] Computer running iTunes connected to the house network or having Wifi

 

It all starts with a computer that runs the iTunes program. All your music gets downloaded onto your computer either physically from your CDs or via downloading through iTunes or some other form of digital download.

From this iTunes interface, you then basically broadcast your own radio station (what’s playing on iTunes) to your new Apple Airport Express. You can pick which speakers to play to within iTunes. You can click on the image to see it larger.

Apple Airport Express integration

iTunes showing which speakers play

When you click on that area in the lower right, you get this dialogue:

Volume levels for multiple speakers

Volume levels for multiple speakers

If you want to play just to your computer speakers, you can pick just them. If you want both, you can pick both. If you want to send it to your Apple Airport Express, you can pick just that. If you have more than one Apple Airport Express, you can select all of them or any combination. This takes it one step further in that you can now wirelessly send your music to more than one receiver. Maybe you have two levels and can’t get a speaker wire to the second floor.

Your new Apple Airport Express has a 1/8″ headphone jack that you plug into your receiver.

Apple Airport Express with Y-Adaptor for Music

Apple Airport Express with Y-Adaptor for Music

Then into back of receiver with the other end of the Y-Adaptor

RCA Jack end of Y-Adaptor

RCA Jack end of Y-Adaptor

From here, you then have your whole house audio system plug into your receiver, then to the speaker selector, then to optional volume controls and onto the speakers. Here’s a link to a 4-Room Whole House Kit like I have operating, except with ceiling speakers.  Mine is a cathedral ceiling that I chose to put rectangle (wall style) speakers.

Kitchen Speakers InwallTech HD-650W

Kitchen Speakers InwallTech HD-650W

Now use your Apple iPad, iTouch or iPhone, walk around the house and change the track, search your whole library, change the volume – the whole lot.

iPad with "Remote" app

iPad with “Remote” app

 

iPad with "Remote" app

iPad with “Remote” app

Enjoy!  Have a comment on how yours is set up?  Leave me a comment below.

Here’s a really good write up of the Air Play features at How Stuff Works: How Apple AirPlay Works.

6 Comments

  • Jeremy says:

    I have a similar set up. I just installed three HD 525 LCR inwall around my 50″ and they sound great.
    I’m using a yamaha amp however and as it has an optical imput, I use a toslink optical cable from my airport express. The music stays digital further in the path of travel and the analog converter in an amp is superior. If your amp has optical imput I highly recommend you change your cable to the toslink for improved sound quality from your airport express.

  • Dodds says:

    Installer Brian. Does this setup allow for turning the 4 zones off and on via an iPad or iPhone? Or would you have to send music to all zones and use the wall controls to turn individual zones down?.
    Does anyone know if there is a speaker selector on market yet that can turn on and off each zone separately, by an app on an iPad or iPhone ?
    I have a MacBook pro, an airport extreme, an airport express to a Cambridge Audio Receiver, an iPad and iPhone both with the Remote app. I also have apple tv.. I currently have speakers hard wired on A and B to separate areas and stream from my laptop to the airport express. I manually switch A and B… We are adding another story and would prefer to switch zones on and off with the iPad if possible..
    Any ideas would be appreciated

    • If each of the areas has it’s own amp or channel from a multi-zone amp AND you’re using separate iTunes apps within different computers or iPods (4 separate iPods) then YES all zones would be independent of each other volume and tracks. Sorry for the delay in responding 🙁 Brian

  • Anonymous says:

    Hello, I did the same setup with my mac and airport express. Now I’m looking for a speaker selector switch that will switch at least 4 pairs, and that i can control through wifi for selection of speakers and volume. Anyone know of anyone making one?

    • Brian Kruse says:

      Kinda…it’s not a speaker selector, but a multi-zone amp. You’d use 4 apple airport express’. Each would control two channels (stereo), of the amp. I’ve been wanting to get around to posting an example of this. This is what we have now Breathe Audio BA6640, bonus that it has keypads. Bk

  • Sean says:

    Very cool idea, thanks for sharing this will work great and save me the trouble of running so many wires!

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